Monday 23 September 2019

Jose Mourinho accuses Premier League of double standards in row over Christmas fixture list

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

James Ducker

Jose Mourinho has accused the Premier League of favouring some clubs with its controversial festive fixture scheduling.

Premier League leaders Chelsea play three games in 10 days whereas Manchester United, Manchester City and Spurs play three matches in eight days and Liverpool have three fixtures in seven days.

Chelsea – who are six points clear in the title race and have no European football to contend with this term - also have longer rest periods between matches whereas Arsenal, whose manager Arsene Wenger has also questioned the scheduled, play two games in three days at the start of the new year.

Mourinho did not name Chelsea but it was clear the United manager had his former club in mind as he launched a fresh attack on the fixture list. Mourinho has already complained publicly this season about the scheduling of United’s Premier League matches either side of Europa League ties.

“The busy period is for some clubs, not for everyone,” Mourinho said. “If you analyse the fixtures there is no congestion for them. It looks like the fixtures are chosen to give rest for some and to create problems to others. But we are used to it because we are in Europa League and the Europa League is a competition that creates more difficulties.

 “We know that, Southampton know that, Tottenham will know that later. It’s very difficult for us but it's more of the same.”

Mourinho is just relieved he has a clean bill of health, with the exception of defender Luke Shaw who is still sidelined with a groin injury.

“It's good for us to have everyone available but Luke Shaw and he's not far away,” he said. “Central-defender position we have now all of them, Smalling is back, Bailly is back, Blind is fine, Rojo fine, a position where it's important to have stability in options. We were in a difficult position a couple of months ago but now we are safe. We know Bailly is going to African Cup in January. For the next three matches we know what we have.”

United face Sunderland at Old Trafford on Boxing Day when David Moyes returns to the club for the first time since being sacked as manager in April 2014 after 10 calamitous months in charge.

“I didn't speak to many people [when I joined United] and David was also not a person that I asked for [advice]. I think when you have Manchester United and you are in another club maybe you think twice but when you have Manchester United and don't have a club, not working, I don't think you have a lot to think about.

 “I thought about the difficulty of job, I tried to answer myself why the club in the past few years in terms of result swas going in a difficult direction but I couldn't think much about coming to Manchester United.”

Asked if he has given consideration to how difficult following Alex Ferguson must have been, Mourinho said: “Not really, I was in another club.

“When I am in a club, I just think about the club and I don't put my time thinking about other things. What I knew was the evolution of the Premier League, the direction of the Premier League and I knew that periods of domination belong to the past because the Premier League. was going already in an incredible direction and it is what it is now.

“I don't like to compare [my time at clubs], honestly. I think you know me, you don't hear from me many stories, many opinions compared to other clubs. When I leave clubs I close the door, a chapter, I wish them goodbye and I try to be happy too. What I can say is that in here I felt people with open arms. A very calm, and intelligent, board and owners.

"They know what they want. They have big experience already. Very calm, very pragmatic, giving me good conditions to work and the players and people that surround me, I felt some sadness because people that love football they want to be successful and everybody tries to help to go in the same direction.”

The Left Wing: Ireland's fullback dilemma, World Cup bonding and the squad standby list

Also in Sport